Utah Bill Would Repeal Safety Regulations That Opponents Say Prevent Fatal Car Accidents

The Utah State Senate will dispute the merits of a new bill, HB265, which if passed would allow drivers to renew registration on passenger vehicles without first passing a safety inspection and earning a certificate.  Supporters say the bill will save taxpayers money while doing little to affect the number of accidents, but opponents argue the bill will cause preventable crashes and possibly, deaths.  Salt Lake City car accident attorney Darwin Overson examines the purpose and scope of HB265 and how Utah drivers may be affected.

Bill Eliminating Safety Inspection Requirement for Passenger Vehicles Passes Utah House

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The Utah House recently voted in favor of a bill that would relax existing safety regulations for passenger vehicles by eliminating a rule requiring passenger vehicles to earn a safety inspection certificate as a condition of registration renewal.  The bill, HB265, is sponsored by Rep. Dan McCay (R-Riverton), who argued that HB265, which he projects will save taxpayers roughly $25 million, is not a safety concern because most accidents are caused by poor weather, driver intoxication, or driver error, rather than the failure to pass vehicle inspections.

McCay also criticized the efficacy of existing safety regulations, stating, “Mandatory vehicle inspections are, by and large, a feel-good effort that yields little to no verifiable results,” adding, “Our vehicles are safer today than ever.”

But opponents of the bill disagreed.

“These safety inspections save lives,” said Rep. Lee Perry (R-Perry), who, in his position as a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper, comes face to face with deadly accidents — some of them, like a recent fatal crash in Sardine Canyon, caused by vehicle flaws that might have been detected and repaired with tighter inspection regulations in place.  In the case of the deadly Sardine Canyon accident, the vehicle had been purchased in Idaho, which does not mandate safety inspections, and had not been through inspections in Utah prior to the crash.

“I know what I deal with,” Perry added.  “I know what I see out there.”

Perry also brought up auto accident statistics related to safety failures — notably, the statistic that approximately 60,000 cars fail their safety inspections each year.

“Do safety inspections save lives?” asked Perry. “We have roughly 1.6 million vehicles that go through the process; 60,000 are rejected for safety concerns.”

Perry also brought up the logistical strain that would be placed on the Utah Highway Patrol if the agency was forced to counteract a decline in safety inspections.

“These are 60,000 vehicles that we are hoping [to find],” he said.  “If [the Utah Highway Patrol] has to catch those 60,000 cars because of serious safety concerns… it would take at least 40 troopers stopping 1,500 cars a day to make up for the 60,000 that are now being caught.”

Perry, who supported a bill to reduce safety inspections in 2012, said he regretted his decision then.

State Senate to Consider Bill to Repeal Car Safety Regulations in Utah

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Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville) also stood among the bill’s opponents, citing concerns about drivers who ignore serious vehicle defects.

“There is a certain percentage of our population,” he said, “that will drive the car until the brakes fall off, the muffler falls off and the tires fall off.”

Despite the concerns of Dunnigan and others, HB265 earned support in the House, where it passed by a 45-29 vote.  The bill will now be reviewed by the Senate.  The bill applies only to passenger vehicles and does not affect existing regulations requiring safety inspections for commercial vehicles, which are designed to reduce truck accidents in Utah and other types of crashes.

Salt Lake City Car Accident Lawyer Handling Personal Injury Claims

Supporters argue that HB265 will save taxpayers money without having an effect on the number of automotive accidents that take place on Utah’s highways, city streets, and rural roads each year.  But opponents say the bill will make Utah’s roads more dangerous for drivers and their passengers by eliminating protections that prevent deadly crashes from occurring.  What do you think of the bill?

If you have been affected by a car accident, turn to Darwin Overson for legal help.  Darwin Overson is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Utah who handles injury claims involving vehicular accidents, including bus accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents throughout the state.  If your or one of your family members was injured in an automotive accident, Darwin Overson can work to help you get compensated for your medical bills, lost earnings, and other expenses related to your injury.

Darwin is highly experienced as a Salt Lake City whiplash injury lawyer, and knows what to look for when proving your accident was caused by an automotive defect or the negligence of another driver.

If you were hurt in an auto accident in Utah, don’t wait to get the compassionate and skillful legal representation you deserve for your injuries.  Contact the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143 right away for a free legal consultation.

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